Police officers are supposed to abide by the law and make sure no wrong deed is carried out, be it dealing with drugs or anything else for that matter. However, it seems some police officers didn’t get the memo.
According to an originally sealed criminal complaint filed March 9 in the Northern District of California, officers Brendon Jacy Tatum of Santa Rosa and Joseph Huffaker of Rohnert Park were “assigned to drug interdiction work” for the City of Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety.
However, when that team was split up due to changes in California marijuana law, it was alleged that the officers started impersonating agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and kept on pulling people over. They were alleged to have stolen the proceeds themselves.
As stated by an official criminal complaint, Tatum has been accused of accused of extorting “at least $3,700 in cash and 60 pounds of marijuana with a value of at least $85,000” in December 2017. Huffaker is accused of stealing a portion of the marijuana proceeds. Upon realization that the police were suspicious of them, Tatum allegedly “falsified a police report to cover his tracks.”
According to the complaint, Tatum “evaded his income taxes, failing to report at least $443,059 in cash deposits for the tax year 2016, for which there is probable cause to believe were derived from his extortion scheme.” He and his wife together reported taxable income of just $85,420.
Both police officers have been accused of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. Tatum is also facing additional charges of tax evasion and falsifying records in a federal investigation. Should the two be convicted of the charges, they will be facing 20 years in jail.